Editor’s note: Programs are ranked based on how they are performing against their own schedules, not based on hypothetical head-to-head matchups.
Voting points breakdown: 10 for first, 8 for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth, 2 for fifth, 1 for sixth.
(Last week, school, record, points with first-place votes in parentheses)
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T-1. (2) Braden River, 1-0, 52 points (3)
Raymond Thomas ran for 166 yards just in the first half, while the defense stifled Bayshore into only three first downs to open the year with a 36-0 victory. That strong performance was enough to tie Manatee for the top spot for Week 2, garnering three first-place votes.
This week: vs. Southeast, 7:30 p.m.
T-1. (1) Manatee, 0-1, 52 (3)
Allowing a program-worst 78 points ties the Hurricanes with Braden River for the top spot in this week’s rankings. Tarique Milton (289 rushing/receiving combined yards) and A.J. Colagiovanni (five TD passes, one TD run) powered Manatee’s 56-point output offensively, which, coupled with the solid defensive effort in defeating state power Seffner Armwood in the preseason, should serve as a silver lining for Canes fans moving forward.
This week: vs. Palmetto, 7:30 p.m.
3. (3) Palmetto, 1-0, 40
The Tigers opened a second straight season beating a historically formidable opponent, Fort Myers, to set up a Week 2 showdown with their rival across the Manatee River. While the Hurricanes are hurting, Palmetto is thriving following Elijah Davis’ 86 rushing yards and two TDs. They even earned one second place vote, too, based on that performance.
This week: at Manatee, 7:30 p.m.
4. (4) Southeast, 0-1, 24
An auspicious start against Brooksville Nature Coast saw an opening kick return and first play from scrimmage result in two quick TDs, which put the Seminoles in a 14-0 hole before they knew what hit them. Now they get one of this week’s Power Poll No. 1 teams, Braden River, on the road. Last season’s meeting went well for a half as Southeast limited Braden River to its lowest first-half output all year with just three points.
This week: at Braden River, 7:30 p.m.
5. (5) Lakewood Ranch, 0-1, 11
The Mustangs were the first team to open the 2016 season from the area, playing last Thursday in Tampa. But the Mustangs were outmatched against Jesuit, which is arguably one of the best teams in Class 5A. The battle between the two bottom teams in the public school portion of the Power Poll square off for bragging rights, and it’s a chance to swing their season toward the right direction.
This week: vs. Bayshore, 7:30 p.m.
6. (6) Bayshore, 0-1, 7
If there was a positive to take away from a 36-0 loss to Braden River last week, it’s head coach John Biezuns has a quarterback in Ryan O’Neill who can throw the football downfield. The Bruins will need to get him some protection this week against Class 7A Lakewood Ranch for a chance to get the program’s first win against the Mustangs since 2013.
This week: at Lakewood Ranch, 7:30 p.m.
1. (1) IMG Academy, 1-0, 60 (6)
IMG started its regular season with an impressive win against Grayson in Loganville, Ga. The Ascenders don’t seem to have the high-powered offense of last year’s team, but quarterback Kellen Mond’s 148 rushing yards and a defense which held the nation’s No. 2 team to 182 yards shows the Ascenders should be fine.
This week: at Corona (Calif.) Centennial, 10 p.m. on Saturday in Mission Viejo, Calif.
2. (3) Cardinal Mooney, 1-0, 48
The Cougars jump to No. 2 with their impressive 46-15 win against Fort Myers Bishop Verot. Bryce Williams should be poised for a breakout season as a junior, and the athlete opened his year with 191 total yards and two touchdowns. Mooney has the earliest bye week in the area and gets Friday off.
This week: Off
3. (2) Saint Stephen’s, 0-1, 36
After missing out on a preseason tune-up due to rain, the Falcons began their fall with a shaky performance and 35-21 loss to Community School of Naples. SSES gets another early-season test Friday when it hosts Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic in a rematch of last year’s Sunshine State Athletic Conference championship game.
This week: vs. Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, 7 p.m.
4. (5) Out-of-Door Academy, 0-1, 20
Out-of-Door’s defense proved to be solid in a season-opening 14-8 loss to Zephyrhills Christian Academy. If last year is any indication, the offense should catch up a bit and give the Thunder room to grow as the season goes on. ODA will play its first Sunshine State Athletic Conference game Friday.
This week: at St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep, 7 p.m.
5. (4) Bradenton Christian, 0-1, 16
The Panthers’ lackluster defense from last season carried over into this year as they surrendered 426 total yards to Fort Myers Southwest Florida Christian Academy to open the season. BCS will get a chance to redeem itself Friday when it plays its first SSAC game.
This week: vs. St. Petersburg Keswick Christian, 7 p.m.
Voters: Herald sports reporters Jason Dill, David Wilson, Alan Dell; sports correspondent Chad Brockhoff; sports editor Mark Lawrence; Sunday news editor Alan Bellittera.
Jason Dill and David Wilson